As Republicans panic over Donald Trump’s ascendant candidacy, a new group has formed to draft a savior. Their nominee of choice? House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The Committee to Draft Speaker Ryan filed as a super PAC with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday, adding to the growing number of mainstream Republican leaders and donors seeking to stop Trump.
Ryan, who ran as the vice presidential candidate with Mitt Romney in 2012, has criticized Trump for his delay in denouncing white supremacist David Duke's support but has not endorsed another candidate in the 2016 election cycle. A spokeswoman for Ryan told Reuters Friday that the speaker was not interested in running for president this year.
“He is flattered, but not interested,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong told Reuters.
Romney, Ryan’s former running mate, also came out against Trump Thursday in a blistering speech at the University of Utah, calling Trump a “phony” who was “playing the American public for suckers.” However, the former Massachusetts governor denied any interest in entering the 2016 race Friday.
“There are no circumstances I can foresee where that would possibly happen,” he said on NBC’s “Today” show Friday.
As Trump took home sweeping wins on Super Tuesday this week, an anti-Trump super PAC held a conference call with big-name Republican donors and several super PACs plan to spend millions of dollars to stop Trump in states like Florida, Illinois and Michigan, which will vote later this month.
Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination, namely Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, tried to take on the New York billionaire during the GOP debate Thursday night, but their attacks are unlikely to dent The Donald’s image. Both senators spent much of the debate harshly criticizing Trump for changing his positions on various topics and for misrepresenting his business record. But many viewers on social media still thought Trump came out on top because his rivals all promised to support him if he is the Republican nominee.
That is just the scenario the Committee to Draft Speaker Ryan hopes to avoid, but not much is known about the group yet. FEC documents list David Satterfield as the organization’s founder, and he told Politico Thursday that he would reveal more information about the committee Friday. The group’s website, draftspeakerryan.com, has details about Ryan’s experience and a “Why Paul?” list as well as a donation page, but no more information about the group itself.